By Staff Reporter
SWAKOPMUND, May 9 — The Swakopmund Memorial Park Cemetery in Namibia bears witness to a tragic and devastating history that still haunts the descendants of the Nama-Ovaherero tribes today. From 1904 to 1908, the Ovaherero people suffered a genocide at the hands of German forces that resulted in the deaths of 65,000 or 80% of the tribe’s population. An extermination order was also issued in 1905 against the Namibia people, leading to the deaths of over 50% of the tribal men, women, and children.
Every March, descendants of the genocide victims gather at the cemetery to pay tribute to their ancestors who were buried in unmarked graves. The annual gathering is attended by traditional leaders from various Ovaherero, Ovambanderu, and Nama royal houses, as well as members of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee (NGTC). The descendants of the victims have long sought restorative justice and the restoration of the dignity of those who perished at the hands of the German Schutztruppe.
The culture of these tribes has been significantly impacted, with some descendants even adopting German military uniforms as part of their cultural gear. The ultimate goal of the descendants is to ensure that their ancestors are properly honoured and remembered and that justice is served for the atrocities committed against them. However, Germany has yet to officially recognise what happened in Namibia as a genocide and offer an apology to the descendants.
The annual gathering serves as a reminder of the lasting effects of colonialism and the importance of acknowledging historical injustices. The descendants of the genocide victims hope that their voices will be heard and that their struggle for justice will one day be recognised and acknowledged by the world. – Namibia Daily News